RAY Nkonyeni Municipality and Absa Bank Limited signed a memorandum of understanding at the Margate Hotel last Friday. RNM said the agreement would move to great lengths in assisting local small businesses in terms of funding, mentorship and exposure to a broader spectrum of business clientele. RNM mayor Nomusa Mqwebu said the municipality was approached by Absa after the bank noted with concern the challenges faced by local SMMEs, pertaining to their development, access to training and skills, capacity and finance related difficulties. “RNM did not hesitate to approve of the idea of collaborating with Absa with an aim of providing a comprehensive SMME development programme which will ensure that in future our upcoming entrepreneurs grow to boost the local economy and create job opportunities,” said Mqwebu. Also in attendance at the signing was the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality Business Forum, which municipal manager Max Mbili said was unique from other local business forums in that it focused mainly on small businesses.The relationship between the forum and the municipality has evidently come a long way since the forum submitted a memorandum to RNM at the municipal council chambers in May last year complaining about the apparent support given to foreign businesses as opposed to local.Speaking at the signing on Friday, Siyanda Dlungwane, a member of the Business Forum, echoed these sentiments and thanked the municipality for taking note of their concerns and including them in such business ventures, which he said were much needed.